While many were watching Alan’s picture and his tragic ending with tears and sad faces, I was frantically trying to reach my nephew Hasan who was studying in Ludhiana and left India abruptly without informing me. He had departed to Istanbul to join his mother and two sisters Mira and Maria, who were waiting to take the death boat to a Greek island, facing insurmountable risks and horrors, to eventually reach the safe coast of Sweden. Hasan could not let his mother and sisters (nine and 10 years old, respectively) travel alone, so he left Panjab University during his second year of study. He had only sent me one text message saying: “Uncle, I’m sorry that I did not inform you before but I could not let my mother, Mira and Maria sail alone. I will keep you posted. Pray for us.”
They were among the lucky ones as their boat sailed safely to the shore. Hasan is now in Gothenburg and posted a goodbye letter to India on his Facebook page. His sisters Mira and Maria should have been in school in Syria where education is compulsory and free. But the war drove them out of their homes along with thousands of Syrians who fled from the atrocities of fanatics and terrorists who resorted to killing, raping, decapitating and destroying every standing stone. At the same time in the West, crocodile tears are shed and there’s a search for democracy in Syria inside the pockets of Sheikhdom’s Dishdasha (traditional Arab dress) or may be inside Gurgaon’s harem.
Prior to the war, Syrian migration was minimal and only for economic reasons and a better lifestyle. Now, Syrian refugees comprise more than 30 percent of total migrants to Europe and millions are under threat of fleeing if the war does not stop. There was a sudden wave of refugees that captured the eyes of the international community, despite the fact that the war has been happening since 2010 in Libya and then Syria, while Iraqi refugees have been around since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many were smuggled in overcrowded boats while others were stuffed and locked inside trucks and trains. In some cases, both children and their parents were left to die of suffocation inside locked chambers.
The war on Syria started long before with economic sanctions and rise in unemployment, corrupt officials and appeasement. In addition, some recruited fanatic Syrian expats coming from the Gulf states, which exacerbated the situation. According to WikiLeaks, the US encouraged Qatar and Turkey to have good relations with President Bashar al- Assad of Syria on the pretext of helping the country politically and economically. When the war broke out, it was President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Emir of Qatar who started funding, training and arming mercenaries and sneaking them into Syria to create havoc in the hopes that the Syrian government will fall quickly, like in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. The militant groups started slaughtering and slitting Syrian throats and cleaning their knives with the Syrian government’s clothes. No one among the armed militant groups was willing for reconciliation and political solution because their masters across the border refused any peaceful solution and the rest is history.